It seems to me that the flowering dogwood trees are especially beautiful this year. I see this popular native tree planted in many residential landscapes as well as growing at the edge of the woods in our region. This is the season for the dogwood to bloom. The white and pink flowers stand out as they rest on and fill the horizontal branches of the dogwood trees.
Like the flowering plants, we also have seasons to bloom. As we spend intimate time with our heavenly gardener He fills us and "we bloom." He waits for us to issue Him an invitation. "Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into His garden and taste its choice fruits." (Song of Solomon 4:16) Abiding in Him brings spiritual fullness and beauty.
It is God who began the good work in us by creating each one of us uniquely for His divine purposes. The Psalmist conveys this thought in Psalm 139. "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Verse 14) We were created to live in the fullness of the Lord and to blossom and bear fruit. "This is My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (John 15:8)
Once our frames are "planted" we play a part in the way we will grow by the decisions we make. God placed Adam and Eve in a garden with two trees--the "tree of life" and the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." It is in this place that Adam and Eve had to make a choice. Had they made the right one they would have been brought into the Lord's higher purposes. However, in choosing the "tree of knowledge" they made clear their desire to live life independent of the Lord. Had they chosen the "tree of life" they would have demonstrated their desire to be submitted to and dependent upon the Lord. Likewise, the decisions we make on a daily basis effect our spiritual growth. As we make decisions in favor of the Lord we will experience His fullness.
How do we maintain the Lord's abiding presence in our lives? This requires us to embrace the life that Jesus modeled. "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25) Which tree do we really want to eat from? Are we making ourselves available to the Lord through our daily decisions? Does the Lord feel welcomed into our presence?
We must set aside our own ways in order to follow Him. To develop a sensitivity to the things that are spiritual and to have a deepening of our spiritual capacity we must issue an invitation to the Lord. "Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my door, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 8:34-35) By yielding ourselves to Jesus we allow Him to live His life through us. "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step (walk) with the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25)
Our heavenly Bridegroom desires to abide with us in intimacy. He wants to bring us into a season of blooming. It is only during our times of closeness with the Lord that He imparts His life to us. And the life of Christ within us brings on spiritual growth so that "we blossom" with fragrant, beautiful flowers that attract the attention of the world and draw them toward Jesus.
Joan E. Mathias